Early Music with Dorico. A Scoring Notes blog

In the nerdiest contribution from an already nerdy fella (that’s me!), the Scoring Notes blog posted a Dorico Tutorial I wrote on engraving early music scores with the software. In it give several examples and explain in detail how to recreate an ars subtilior virelai by Ciconia and a Handel secular cantata using both features and workarounds. I even share those two files. There is also a shout-out to Florian Kretlow for his Figurato font.

The blog entry is at:

Warning: make a pot of tea/coffee …

Great job, Claude. Not all of those tricks are sanctioned, of course, but it’s very cool to see how the tools we’ve provided can be bent to your will if you think laterally.

Thanks Daniel. With any software, as you well know, the grey area of “unsanctioned tricks” is sometimes necessary and also endlessly fascinating!

Very interesting Claude, thank you for posting.

Well done, Claude. There are plenty of other tricks that have been posted here. It is of course easy to do ficta with a Performance Technique, and hide the ‘real’ accidental. Someone even suggested creating incipit staves by placing the entire work as a Coda!

I’ve also been using vertical square brackets in Text (with avoid collisions turned off) in order to parenthesise a passage of notes.

Thank for the tips. The world of unsanctioned tricks is very rich indeed. I have also done the Coda thing on occasion!

Wow! That is a tremendous amount of work.

The inability to handle Ficta is a deal breaker for me. Fortunately, other notation apps have the functionality I need. Perhaps Dorico will someday.

A search on the forum for “ficta” indicates there are at least 4 ways to easily input it. I wouldn’t call that an inability to handle it.

There are a small handful of things that I really need that Dorico doesn’t yet do, but ficta is not one of them.

… the other thing is that it is one thing to describe tricks, but I really wanted to share some of the results for people to SEE. I have an upcoming performance of the Monteverdi Vespers for which I have had to make an edition (various reasons … just trust me!), and the results are fantastic. The local space changes when dealing with sesquialtera, which I mention briefly in the blog, have been put to good use. Using this tool results in spacing consistency, beautiful proportions and easy reading. The BC parts have several movements on fold-outs because of the short score I created above the staff plus the figures, but they are printed at standard raster size despite all of the information within. I have four “chordal” continuo players (plus two bassi) for this performances and two of them, being a little older, will be thankful for me sparing their vision! The bassi parts have occasional short-scores and no figures … and therefore no fold-outs! I have two different flow-headers for all layouts. Every aspect of preparing this score was a pleasure. It’s an amazing tool …

Ficta is easy to achieve, it’s just not native. Once the accidentals are created to taste, they can be part of the default collection of playing techniques.

As for the “lot of work”, the Ciconia will be difficult (or impossible) with any software. Still, with Dorico, the thinking took a lot more time than the execution. As for the Handel, it was extremely quick and easy …